Talks ongoing over sale of Shoreham Airport leases

Talks over the sale of leases at Shoreham Airport are ongoing between administrators and a potential buyer.

The terminal building at Shoreham Airport
The terminal building at Shoreham Airport

The leases are currently owned by Albemarle Shoreham Airport Ltd (ASAL), which was placed in administration in September, 2016, according to Companies House, after experiencing financial difficulties.

The potential buyer is ‘very much in favour’ of maintaining the airport and its services, according to the joint administrator of ASAL, David Thurgood.

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Shoreham Airport was divided into four individual leases after Worthing Borough Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – which jointly own Shoreham Airport – approved changes negotiated by the administrators in February, 2018, a spokesman from Brighton and Hove City Council confirmed.

The changes also involved increasing the lease length from around 140 years to 350 years and ‘altering various other clauses by agreement’, the spokesman said.

It was hoped these new leases, which could be sold to different parties, would attract new tenants that were ‘better placed to manage respective land uses’, the spokesman said.

Mr Thurgood confirmed he was now in talks with an interested party over plans to sell two of the largest leases.

One of these is the lease currently held by the airport operators – Brighton City Airport Ltd – and other tenanted parties, while the other is a parcel of land beyond the airport’s boundaries which administrators are proposing to sell as development land, complete with planning permission.

Mr Thurgood said: “This interested party is very much in favour of maintaining the airport and its services now and in the future.”

He said two further leases for smaller pockets of land, within the overall site but beyond the airport’s boundaries, have been set aside for ‘important changes to highways and drainage’ which are expected to be undertaken by the adjoining landowner.

Mr Thurgood said: “Our primary aim is to maximise the value of the estate, which is obviously in the interests of creditors who are owed money by ASAL.

"In doing so, we are mindful of the strength of local support for Shoreham Airport and the desire to keep it operational.”